Gianni Grippo, a Renzo Gracie purple belt, hoped to pay tribute to his grandfather, who recently passed away, by wearing a T-shirt on the winners’ podium. He kept his promise, but the medal hanging from his neck was silver. A minor detail separated him from gold in the light featherweight purple belt division.
– I lost by an advantage, but I gave it my all. Either way I’m happy to have been able to pay tribute to him.
Fun and games that went wrong. That’s how one could define the final of the absolute blue belt, this Friday evening. Two teammates from Lloyd Irvin BJJ made it to the decider.
– We usually make it to the absolute final and when we do, we always fight – revealed DJ Jackson, the champion, who besides the final had three matches, getting the submission in all of them.
This time, though, they didn’t laugh about it in the end. Winning by 26 to 0, ultraheavyweight William Leonard decided to submit his training partner towards the tail end of the match, but chose the wrong technique. With DJ fully dominated, Leonard applied pressure to the back of his friend’s neck. A yelp of desistance and conferral with the referee preceded the decision to disqualify Leonard, who didn’t like the outcome one bit.
– That’s nitpicking! I attacked his shoulder! – he spat.
Later, on the podium, they swapped medals. The runner-up took gold and the first-place winner was left with silver.
Team Lloyd Irvin also dominated the female division. Tracey Goodell, after winning at lightweight, went on to have three matches in the absolute and stretched out the arm of the heavier Maia Matalon, from ATT.
– There aren’t many women on the team, so I’m used to training with men. This is my first Pan-American, and I won two gold medals. It was incredible – summarized Tracey.
In the absolute purple belt, gold went to New York. Renzo Gracie Academy’s girl prodigy won the medium heavyweight and open weight classes. Kay Stephenson has a tight game, and a sweep secured her victory over Ana Lowry, of Barbosa JJ.
The excitement of Pan 2010 continues this Saturday, when the black belts finally take to the mats. Stay tuned to GRACIEMAG.com to keep up with all the details.
Click here for the results from the Pan so far.